Special Guest Blogger: Mandy Douglass

04/02/2010 at 8:10 am | Posted in fonts, General Inspiration, guest blogger, Holidays, How-Tos, product, technique, Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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Hey all my favorite CK Readers! It is me, Mandy Douglass! I don’t know about you, but I am so excited for this upcoming Easter holiday weekend. Now that I have two little boys, it just keeps getting more and more fun each year. I love easter egg hunts, easter baskets, easter bunnies, and those little peeks from the tulips that will soon turn into beautiful flowers.

Last year was the first year my son, Bryson, could start to understand the whole easter egg hunt idea. So today, I thought I would share a photo tip and a ribbon tip with you from this fun new page I created about his first hunt!

The Race is On by Mandy Douglass. Supplies: American Crafts.

Photo Tip:

Bryson was just learning to walk, and he really didn’t have enough balance to pick up eggs, so crawling was his only way to get those funny looking round things! I thought this photo was perfect to use on my layout, because it captures his perspective on the easter egg hunt. There weren’t a lot of kids around to “race” him for the eggs, but the faster he got them, the more excited he was. I challenge all you CK readers to get down in the grass this weekend and get some true perspective photographs!

Ribbon Tip:

Next is a fun tip a friend taught me a while back. I often find it hard to punch through a page or get a knotted ribbon to stay in place without gargantuan amounts of glue! So here are a few steps to show you how to get that cute ribbon knot to stay in place and avoid getting sticky.

First cut a piece of ribbon about 3″ long. Then staple it to the area of the page you would like the ribbon to be.

Then simply tie the knot (I usually only tie one knot and it stays in place).


Then cut off the remaining ribbon.

Simple, huh!

Bonus Gift-Bag Topper Tip:

I decided to use the same technique on some cute treat bags for Easter. (Not only did I get a cute bag out of it, but it also gave me a great excuse to open those Cadbury Mini Eggs that have been staring at me for a week!)

To make the bag topper, I made a simple flap using Sizzix’s scallop square die cut, then I folded it in half. I added some darling egg paper from the Dear Lizzy line by American Crafts and stapled the decorated flap to close the bag and keep the ribbon in place. 

Last, I made a cute little tag using a Quickutz oval die, some scallop scissors by Fiskars, and Dear Lizzy Dimensional Sticker. Then knotted it all in place! 

Such an easy way to do lots of Easter treat bags.

“Hop” that you all have a great holiday weekend!

Mandy Douglass, CK contributing writer

P.S. Don’t forget to download today’s font as part of Free Font Friday! This weeks’ font is CK Day Dream. Download it today at Creating Keepsakes.


Special Guest Blogger: Deanna Dieudonné

02/19/2010 at 12:20 pm | Posted in guest blogger, technique | 11 Comments
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Happy Friday everyone! My name is Deanna Dieudonné, and I am very excited to be the guest blogger—yeah!

I have been scrapbooking for about five years and make a lot of handmade cards. I attended my first CKU convention a few years ago. Not only did I meet a wonderful group of people there, but I returned with a passion for all things related to photography.

I’m also a mother of two active little boys who are full of energy and always on the move. If they’re not running, jumping, or climbing outside, then it must be bedtime! But photographing kids on the move isn’t always easy. So in honor of the Olympics, I want to share tips on how you can capture some gold-medal moments on camera while your “little athletes” play outside.

Zoom In. Long gone are the times when my boys sat still and posed for a picture. Lately, my boys have a tendency to make a silly face if they think I’m taking their picture. My solution: use a zoom lens to get close-up shots from a distance. I like to use my zoom lens because I can take my boys’ pictures without feeling like I’m intruding in their playtime. This approach also allows me the ability to zoom in and out without having to switch lenses.

Shoot Continuously. If your camera allows for it, shoot using the “burst” function. I love using this function with the Sports mode (the running-man icon). This continuous mode allows me to take multiple pictures in rapid succession, and it’s perfect for taking candid photos. (It’s also perfect for capturing the movement of two active little boys.)

For the set of photos below, I caught my boys trying to walk on the balance beam. I positioned myself to the side and in front of my boys as they played. I had so much fun watching them laugh and fall off.

Think Ahead. Taking pictures is like scrapbooking: a little upfront thought and planning can produce a very creative and eye-appealing result. When taking your photos, think about what elements you want to capture. Are you trying to capture a laugh, a smile, or a whole scene? Also, position yourself either in the direction that your subjects will be moving toward or away from. For example, when I took the first photo below, my son was running around the track and chasing after a remote-control car. I could have zoomed in on just his face, but that wouldn’t capture the entire scene with the rest of my family in the background. And in the photo of the monkey bars, I wanted to capture the essence of the playground fun.

Snap Away. One wonderful aspect of digital cameras is that there’s no film and virtually no cost (except storage cost, which is pretty inexpensive). I never delete a photo unless I find it absolutely unusable. Just because it’s blurry doesn’t mean it’s not a good photo. Keep those blurry shots—sometimes they add a creative effect. 😉 I like to compile a bunch of my favorite action shots into collages. I made these collages using Picasa, the free software from Google.

Have Fun. Let your children do what comes naturally. During fall, as soon as my boys saw a big pile of leaves they attacked it—jumping, kicking, and laughing (see the collage above). Some of my favorite shots are those that were taken in the moment.

Taking candid shots gives my boys a chance to be spontaneous and silly.

Now it’s your turn. Go out and have fun and see what shots you can come up with. For more ideas, check out my blog.


P.S. Don’t miss this week’s free font download as part of Free Font Friday! You can download the CK font for free here!

Special Guest Blogger: Tiffany Tillman

06/26/2009 at 12:56 pm | Posted in guest blogger, Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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TT_HeadshotHello, hello!

I’m Tiffany Tillman, a member of the 2009 Creating Keepsakes Dream Team. It’s a pleasure to be this week’s guest blogger!

It’s finally summer–woo hoo! It’s hot where I live, and my family and I love to brave the heat every day. We’re at the park or in the swimming pool, catching waves at the beach or barbequing with our extended family . . . the list goes on and on. And like every scrapbooker, my camera is always right there with  me.

One thing is for sure–just because I’ve decided to haul my camera with me does not mean the midday sun is forgiving. Shade? What shade? Wait for a cloud? I can see clearly with no clouds in sight. The only thing left to do is remember a few key tips and get the shot, midday sun and all! Here are a few photography pointers for making the most of a sunny situation:

TT_lightingPositioning: Focus on the Face

My main concern is always the face. I want to make sure I can see my subject’s eyes as wide and candid as possible. So instead of allowing the light to stream onto the face (as in the 3/4 sidelighting example), I position my subject with her back to the sun (also known as backlighting). Backlighting eliminates  harsh lighting on the subject’s face, though the top of the head will still be overlit. But my concern is the beautiful face, so I’ll live with the hot spot on the head on a sunshiny day!


The Trinity: ISO, Aperture, & Shutter Speed

Some of you may feel intimidated by all the functions on your camera, but once you’ve read your camera’s manual—it IS an invaluable resource—you can practice and see great results when shooting in full manual mode (when using DSLRs). When it’s a scorcher outside, my “quick, get that shot” go-to camera settings are ISO at 200, f/5.6, and a shutter speed well over 125. If I want the background to be a bit fuzzy and don’t mind a few hot spots, you can reduce the aperture value to f/3.0. The photo above was taken at ISO: 200, f/5.0, with a shutter speed of 1250. Check your camera’s manual for how to adjust these settings and play around with them. The payoff can be phenomenal!

Use the Histogram, Not the LCD

I don’t know about you, but the glare on my LCD in midday summer sun blinds my dream of a nicely exposed photo. Enter the histogram, which sees all! Basically, it will let you know at a glance if your exposure is under or over exposed. Here’s an easy way to tell if you’re under or over exposed: If the reading on the screen is to the left, it’s under. To the right, and it’s over. If it’s in the middle, keep it! Most point & shoots and DSLR’s have a built in histogram function in the camera, which allows you to view the histogram and the image simultaneously. Again, if you consult your owner’s manual, you can learn how to find and read your histogram. It’s worth checking into, I assure you!




Here are a few more tricks:

1. Use the flash. It sounds silly, but it’ll fill in harsh shadows on a subject’s face and create a more evenly lit image.

2. Shoot, shoot, shoot! Summer is full of action! Photos from quick clicks of the shutter make great story boards. How can a scrapper say no to a sequence of action photos?

If you aren’t taking as many summer photos as you like, challenge yourself today to take a few using the tips above. You’ll love looking back at them when cooler weather (and more time to scrap) snuggles up to you!

Happy Scrapping!


For more inspiration from Tiffany, check out her work in 101 Expert Solutions for Scrapbooking and visit her on her blog.

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